Over the years, there has been a sizeable increase in man-animal conflicts, leading to the loss or injury to the precious life. Official data attests the rise in the conflicts as 230 people lost their lives and over 2800 were injured across J&K since 2006. In 2021-22 so far, six persons have been killed and 31 injured.
One among the victims was a 4-year-old girl, Adda, who was taken away by leopards from a partially walled kitchen garden of a downtown family living in the shade of a wild nursery, plunging not only the bereaved relations but the entire valley into mourning. Leap of leopards has been seen wandering in the human population including Ompora, Natipora and other areas of Budgam and Srinagar for quite some time. Earlier this year a leopard was even spotted in Bagh-e-Mehtab area of Srinagar. Also, in January this year, animal organs including eight leopard hides, four musk deer pods and 38 bear gallbladders were found in possession of a man arrested in Anantnag. It points out poaching and calls for the need to strengthen the available means with necessary checks and balances to arrest the threat to the wildlife.
Also, importantly, the rising incidents of man-animal confrontation allude to disturbances caused in wildlife.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha underlined the point also and said wildlife plays an invaluable role in sustaining human and other forms of life. He said while the basic premise of culture has been the co-existence of nature and human civilization, “unfortunately, the indiscriminate use of natural resources has gradually turned this coexistence into man-animal conflict.”
Destruction of forests sends wild animals closer to humans. There were reports when the covid-19 pandemic started that the animals carry virus along with them. The biodiversity in forests harmlessly retains dangerous viruses and other pathogens among a vast pool of wild animals, away from people.
This aspect also underscores the value of maintaining viable ecosystems, and eliminating the entry of the wild animals from entering human surroundings.
There has been reckless exploitation of the environment over the years. Both officials at the helm of affairs and people are responsible. The growing man-animal conflict serves as a dire warning to all and calls for the need to renew focus to avoid confrontations.
There is a need to promote conservation encompassing survival of all as well as diversity of the ecosystem.